How Many Cherries in Frozen Pie? FDA May Soon Drop Rules
NEW YORK — President Donald Trump may soon be able to claim a sweet victory for his deregulation push, with officials preparing to get rid of the decades-old rules for frozen cherry pies.
Emails show the Food and Drug Administration planned to start the process for revoking the standard for frozen cherry pies this week, followed by a similar revocation of the standard for French dressing. Plans to get rid of the obscure rules had been tucked into the Trump’s administration’s deregulation agenda.
It’s not always clear why some food terms have standards and others don’t. The rules are seen as arcane by many and are a sore spot in the food industry, with companies saying they prevent innovation or prompt lawsuits. The FDA under Trump has said it plans to update the standards.
Lee Sanders of the American Bakers Association said she’s hopeful the cherry pie standard will finally be revoked, but that it would not make a big difference for the industry.
“I feel confident our members are producing cherry pies with more than enough cherries,” she said.
The FDA Also Plans to Take Another Look at Milk
The FDA also plans to take another look at milk, which federal regulations define as coming from a cow. The dairy industry has called for a crackdown on soy, rice and almond drinks makers that use the term.
The frozen cherry pie standard is an outlier because other fruit pies don’t have similar rules. The same is true for French dressing: The Association for Dressings and Sauces, which once went after a vegan spread for violating the mayonnaise standard, notes other dressings are not subject to such standards.
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who stepped down this month, said in an October tweet that it was among the FDA’s priorities to “de-regulate frozen cherry pie.” He apparently wasn’t entirely joking.
In a June email, the FDA noted plans to post a proposal to revoke the frozen cherry pie standard on April 18. It said the proposal to revoke the French dressing standard would be posted May 3.
In a statement this week, the FDA said the dates were for “long range internal planning purposes” and that the timing could shift. Updates to the standards will be publicly noted, the agency said.